Author Topic: Meditating with closed or open eyes?  (Read 7591 times)

Lesessais

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Meditating with closed or open eyes?
« on: January 12, 2010, 04:22:53 PM »
Hi all,

I am a beginner in meditation and a newcomer to the forum. I have been trying to establish a meditation practise for the last three months or so.

As I understand it, meditating with your eyes closed seems to be the recommendation for students of Vipassana. I have found it somewhat easier to maintain concentration on my breath with eyes open, but at the same time I have a strange feeling that the open eyes distracts me from reaching a deeper and longer concentration throughout my sessions.

What are your thoughts on this? What are the pro's and con's of eyes closed vs eyes open? What would you recommend?

Very thankful for your input on this.

 

Life student

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Re: Meditating with closed or open eyes?
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2010, 02:32:35 AM »
Hi Lesessais,

I too am new to Vipassana meditation, but I would like to chime into this topic if I may. I find value in both forms of meditation, with the eyes open and with the eyes shut, though my preference is certainly with my eyes shut. Shutting my eyes allows me to tune into the experience at a higher level. I believe the eyes often give us false perceptions of things; we tend to believe only what we see. With our eyes shut, our mind is willing to delve into dimensions without limit or judgment.

Meditating with my eyes open while defocusing my vision, however, still holds value. I typically employ this technique when I am in a situation where I need to "come back to center." This happens most often when I am in public and I begin to experience a degree of anxiety, stress, or concern. I have discovered that by defocusing my eyes and taking a few deep diaphragmatic breaths, I can immediately alleviate all disempowering emotions. In light of this, I often wonder if my mind would innately be less turbulent had I been born with poor vision.

mik1e

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Re: Meditating with closed or open eyes?
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2010, 08:12:58 AM »
Meditation with closed and opened eyes has its pro and contra.

When your eyes are closed, it is easier to focus on inner sensations, but it is easier to go asleep.

When your eyes are opened, your consciousness is more active, but you have more distraction factors.

In Himalayan tradition they recommend to meditate with slightly opened eyes. Then you can "catch" the state when your temples become "opened". But it is a bit more difficult, because tremor of eyelids can cause problems with concentration.

So, for beginners I usually recommend to work with closed eyes, but put more attention to keep awareness. When flow of higher energies becomes strong enough, eyes open themselves, and you meditate with opened eyes.

« Last Edit: January 14, 2010, 01:47:58 PM by mik1e »

Lesessais

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Re: Meditating with closed or open eyes?
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2010, 01:13:09 PM »
Thanks for the replies! I will try to start meditating with my eyes close instead.

Life student

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Re: Meditating with closed or open eyes?
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2010, 12:31:01 AM »
Good luck.  :)

Matthew

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Re: Meditating with closed or open eyes?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2010, 12:57:24 AM »
As I understand it, meditating with your eyes closed seems to be the recommendation for students of Vipassana. I have found it somewhat easier to maintain concentration on my breath with eyes open, but at the same time I have a strange feeling that the open eyes distracts me from reaching a deeper and longer concentration throughout my sessions.

What are your thoughts on this? What are the pro's and con's of eyes closed vs eyes open? What would you recommend?

Dear Lesessais,

Welcome to the forums.

If you are going to shut your eyes they need to be closed gently without force, like you are sleeping, with muscles relaxed. Generally they will still remain a little open if you close them this way.

Alternatively you can meditate with eyes open. To avoid distraction look at the floor about 1 -2 metres in front of you - again with eyes relaxed. If your mind wanders a lot bring your gaze closer to you. If your mind feels sleepy lift them nearer to the horizon.

Either way works. Find what works for you.

Warmly, in the Dhamma,

Matthew
« Last Edit: January 16, 2010, 12:58:29 AM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
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mindful1983

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Re: Meditating with closed or open eyes?
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2010, 10:03:47 AM »
though not directly answering ur question, i read that your eyes move when the mind wanders. with this in mind, i tried to use awareness of my eyes when i cant seem to concentrate. i make it so that my eyeballs aren't moving, and my mind stops wandering. now, this may go against specific meditation instructions, but i think the info is useful.

i.e. perhaps if concentration is more of a problem, then open eye would be more suitable? for me i think my concentration is weaker than my insight thats why i get to use this.

awareness of this would also use the positive side of kasina or open eye meditation while still leaving the eyes closed and getting the benefits of that.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2010, 10:09:20 AM by mindful1983 »